By Waheed Adekunle
While the development of infrastructure is universally viewed as important to advancing the collective cause of socio-economic development, and seen as productivity stimulant and enhancer of the quality of life, it is apposite not to be misplaced for the purpose of deception.
It is no more a news that the Osun state government, led by Senator Ademola Adeleke has been running the affairs of the state like a personal enterprise since assumption of office in the last eleven months, judging from the empirical evidence that is abound.
This palpable anomaly revolves around the system and had eaten deep into the fabrics of governance and it has become too obvious to be ignored by discerning citizens and concerned residents.
A dispassionate assessment and critical analysis of the-good, the-bad and the ugly of the administration had left no one in doubt of the glaring porosity and lack of direction, administrative acumen, governance prowess and of course, lack of political-will to drive a well-structured economy of a state like Osun let alone, administering the affairs of a highly sophisticated segment of the residents of the state.
The heights of incompetence displayed by the government hinged on the recent disclosure made by the governor to embark on white-elephant projects parochially conceived to address self-acclaimed infrastructure deficit in the state.
The proposed projects, estimated to the tune of a ₦100billion, is not only a fantasy but a quagmire, widely considered as a gross misplacement of priority, particularly, at a time, the citizens in general and workers in particular are facing serious hardship due to the present socio-economic realities occasioned by the fuel subsidy removal.
Governor Adeleke, had in a statement, announced his plans to construct five flyovers; two in Osogbo, one in each of Ede, Ikirun and Ile-Ife, to ease traffic across the state. He also identified 45 roads to be constructed as part of what the ₦100billion non-existent funds would be expended on.
Other projects listed include, the rehabilitation of 345 health centres and phase 2 of potable water provision both in the 332 Wards, and phase 2 of school rehabilitation in 31 schools of the 30 Local Government Areas as well as the dualisation of roads in Osogbo, Ede, and Ilesa.
According to Adeleke, the projects would be financed solely by the government without borrowing from financial institution, a delusionary statement that can only come from a confused administration in a depressed economy, in the case of Osun.
Examining the Governor Adeleke led-government’s proposed projects, one needs not to ponder to know that the enlisted projects are products of imaginary disposition to hoodwink the public, deplete the state’s meagre resources and of course enriching the pockets of government allies, political loyalists and associates.
Since the delusory statement was made, no iota of justification has been made by any of the government officials as to the source of funding the proposed projects. This is indeed far from sensitivity; principles of good governance and of course, lacking in logic and reasoning.
From the critical analysis of the proposed ‘₦100billion infra plan’ one-by-one, it is apparent that the proposed Owode-Ede flyover is not only ill-advised or ill-thought, but a frivolous concept to skew government attention and patronage in favour of the governor’s kinsmen.
It is pathetic that inspite the palpable economic reality, Osun government can come up with frivolities, and resolve to expending the public funds on projects that can neither add value nor importance to the state at the moment.
Without being prejudicial, what socioeconomic value is Owode-Ede flyover stands to bring to the state while Osun is in dire need of economic rejuvenation and sectorial investments capable of facilitating development and expand multiplier effect on the welfare and general wellbeing of the people? No doubt, the motive has further exposed the government’s clannish tendencies and nepotic motives that had been the foundation of the administration since its inception.
Going by the claims of the government that the five proposed flyovers were painstakingly selected across the three Senatorial Districts, it is safe to say that the portion of Osun West is what allocated to Owode-Ede, a microscopic settlement and an outskirts of Osogbo, the state capital.
Osun West Senatorial District with ten Local Government Areas and several LCDAs, warehousing notable towns and cities, such as Iwo, Ikire, Ejigbo, Apomu, Gbongan, Ode-Omu, Ikoyi, Orile-Owu, Oluponna, Ile-Ogbo, Awo, Ido-Osun, among others have consistently been at the mercy of government for attention when it comes to the spread of developments simply because the governor’s hometown (Ede) domiciles in the District.
The implications of the continuous lion share of Ede in the scheme of things in the state in general and in the District in particular remain that even with the proposed project, other towns would be unconscientiously made to sacrifice the flyovers to Owode-Ede based on myopic resolve of the ruling class.
If not for needless aesthetics and parochial satisfaction, constructing a flyover at Owode-Ede is as good as nothing, and claiming that it is considered to prevent incessant road mishaps on the axis due to the artificial market square, is not only a political mirage but a flagrant misplacement of priority.
Similarly, the proposed Alamisi junction flyover in Ikirun is not only a collosal waste but a gross ill-hearted political emancipation to reward an insignificant segment of loyalists, otherwise, one wouldn’t have come to terms to conceptualise such motive, at a time like this, that the state is struggling to pay salaries and pensions with humongous debts of salaries and pensions arrears.
While the proposed Ile-Ife flyover seems to be a welcome development, the question agitating minds was its socioeconomic importance at this moment if not for political reasons to manipulate public psyches and score cheap political scorecards.
In the same vein, the proposed rehabilitation of 345 health centres across 332 political Wards can be best described as an ‘Executive Charade’ to further plunder the public resources. The bizzare in the move is all about the interest of the government to embark on the rehabilitation of the PHCs. Are they not the same health centres revitalised by his predecessor– Adegboyega Oyetola?
No doubt, the clear motive behind this political expedition is to spend the state resources on another phoney project like that of the ‘audio borehole.’
The heights of the ridicule that the proposed ‘infra plan’ further subjected the state to was the pronouncement of phase two of potable water (borehole project) in the 332 Wards and phase 2 of school rehabilitation in 31 schools of the 30 Local Government Areas as well as dualisation of roads in Osogbo, Ede, and Ilesa.
The question to ask is, what’s the economic benefit of the first phase borehole project claimed to have been done across the state? Is that not another misplacement of priority for a government that had showcased failure on its part to fix and revamp the State Water Corporation?
Has the state government ever made public relevant documents to intimate residents with the statistics of the rehabilitated schools as claimed? Where are the phoney schools rehabilitated? What necessitates the second phase if there is first phase at all? Until accurate answers are provided to these hanging questions, the entire process remains a fallacy.
It is quite unfortunate that the Adeleke’s administration that claimed to be prudent, transparent and accountable had continuously displayed otherwise and acting in contrary, as its pseudo claims across sectors of the economy had fallen flat to their faces.
The government had consistently failed to prove sanity in its actions and inactions since the inception as it failed to account for what was expended on some of the executed projects most significantly the phoney borehole projects claimed to have been done across the 332 political wards in the state.
The ‘audio borehole project’ that Adeleke’s administration failed to disclose its cost before embarking on it was later revealed to have been executed at the rate of ₦1.5million after self-acclaimed completion, leaving the citizens in the dark of where the money was sourced and the total cost of the project. Even at that, the amount claimed by the governor as the cost of the project was different from the figure released by his spokesman.
Citizens can not forget in a jiffy the mystery behind the borehole project which the total cost was concealed from public before the governor recently disclosed it at the public enlightenment programme.
The law of sensitivity and sensibility demand the government to have learnt a lesson from its failed promises, lack of transparency and probity.
Surprisingly, the governor, on Wednesday publicly disclosed the readiness of his administration to embark on another phoney project with a whooping sum of ₦100billion, boasting that the state would execute the project without resorting to borrowing.
Some of the questions agitating the minds of the people are the fact that why the government is embarking on such white-elephant projects in view of the current socioeconomic realities in the state?
It is on record that since the Adeleke’s administration received #2billion from the federal government as palliative fund to cushion the adverse effects of fuel subsidy removal, the state had done nothing in that regards, instead, it has resorted to failed promises.
The question now is, why the government deliberately chose to compound the hardship on the people by hoarding the funds meant for same purpose? It’s like the government is deriving pleasure afflicting pains on the people, if not, the palliative funds would have been judiciously used for the purpose it was meant for .
Aside this, the state government has been hoarding another ₦7billion Special Funds received from federal government to address the adverse effect of fuel subsidy removal.
The state workforce has been at the mercy of government to survive, yet the state is hoarding ₦9billion. The residents are facing serious hardship on daily basis to survive, yet the state couldn’t find any solution. While other states have come up with workable measures to address the situation, Osun is lagging behind and revolving in stagnation. Instead of doing the needful, the state is mustering efforts to embark on frivolous white elephant projects.
It’s better to do right, even if we suffer in so doing, than to incur the reproach of our consciences and posterity. Posterity will pay everyone his or her due.
May God heal our land!
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